Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Balkanized Americans for Truth

So what did we learn tonight?

More of the same is the lesson from this evening's rant with democracy in action. Sure it's messy, filled with surprises, total miscalculations and repeat offenders. And that's the happy side of the story, because when you kick at the floorboards from this mean-spirited election a number of freakish species start crawling out from the cracks.

To hear the rambling wreck of the talking heads on MSNBC, they would lead us to believe that the democrats are the problem and the Rethugs have the solution. They have argued that a Northeast Senator was the root of this problem because he cannot grab a single southern red state and break open the bank. But that, too, simplifies the issue - in a fashion dreadfully similar when recalling how this administration rolled the Iraq War into the tangle that was September 11.

The underlying issue is pandemic, explosive and destructive.

To illustrate the point: name one hard-boiled, southern red state Rethug who could win California or Illinois or Washington state or New York -- name just one and you win the argument. The problem here is that it's the other side of a perverse riddle. It cannot be deprogrammed and it cannot be resolved.

There is a cultural civil war raging in this country - mainly because the south lost the last one; and if we do not find a new way to organize our political debate we are going to have every election play out this way for the rest of our lives, with no clear winners, with no clear mandates, without any middle ground. It is bigger than liberals and conservatives. It's cultural and you can thank Roger Ailes, Lee Atwater, Karl Rove and the religious right for playing the game of faith-baiting this country into absurdity.

Because it's not about gays and abortion and stem cells and it's not really about moral values. These are code words for fear that make it easier for true-believers to hold their noses when they vote for the lessor of two perceived evils. To have the corporate interests in bed with the religious right and rednecks is akin to an alleged murder without a corpse. It's an exculpatory game and staunch conservatives truly look down on fundamental christians like Dixiecrats glared at black people in the 1960s - but content in their awareness that they were a necessary evil that could be exploited every four years or whenever a key Senate race needed them. And today, it is swayed by a theocratic, cult of personality agenda enshrouded by corporate crony capitalism.

Need more evidence about how balkanized the country has become? The truth exists not in the red states where Democrats are Governors, but in the blue states where Rethugs have taken the very office. Take a look at New York and California where Petaki and The Gropinator have evolved into left-leaning social engineers supporting open-minded positions like pro-life, civil unions and stem cells. Sure it's politics, and all politics are local, but therein lies the dilemna. It speaks volumes to the divisions based on region and location more than it reveals anything about the political parties themselves.

America might as well have sectors called Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia, defined by the religious and moral certitude of the extreme voices in its electorate.

But back to the fundamentalist fringe for a second, where the theopolitical agenda rages unchecked. This is the glue holding together a complex rubik's constituency. In church after church, no matter the denomination, the sermons have been rousing campaign endorsements of the Bush-Cheney ticket, if not by name, at least with a wink. Some places of worship set up simple card tables inside the churches themselves, encouraging parishoners to vote the Rethug ticket which is clearly in violation of section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, representing a cozy tax exemption that may be revoked for such activity.

So clearly this balkanized electorate is defined by a spiritual infrastructure that has ripped apart the boundaries between Church and State, by drawing a line between born-agains and the damned. A line representing the end of religious freedom as we knew it, and the color-coded electoral maps are window dressing for a resentful, national soul.


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